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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books Lady Zaynab Lady Zaynab And A Syrian Man

Lady Zaynab And A Syrian Man


    A Syrian man who attended the session of Yazid looked at Lady Fatimah daugher of Imam al-Husayn in captivity and said to Yazid, "Give this girl to me to serve me." As she heard this shocking statement, the lady trembled and
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grabbed hold to her aunt's cloak. Lady Zaynab shouted at the Syrian man, "You, the mean one, have lied. Neither you nor can even your leader (i.e. Yazid) do this." This statement enraged Yazid who said, "I could if I would." Lady Zaynab answered, "No, you can not do it unless you abandon our religion and take another for yourself." As Yazid realized the big insult that Lady Zaynab targeted at him by these words, he shouted at her, "How dare you say such words in my face? It was your father and your brother who abandoned the religion!"
    Indifferent to the tyrant's authority and ability to punish Lady Zaynab replied him so confidently saying, "Only by the religion of Allah and that of my father and grandfather you and your father were guided, if you are really Muslim." By these words, Lady Zaynab unmasked the tyrant who claimed Imam al-Husayn and his family's being apostates. As a result, people of Syria realized that the captives were the Holy Prophet's family about whom many Quranic Verses were revealed from the Almighty Lord, and that Yazid was no more than a faithless liar. "You have lied, enemy of Allah!" these were the only words that Yazid could find to answer Lady Zaynab whose answer was, "You are a dominant ruler! You can revile [at anybody] unjustly and you prevail on anyone through your authority."
    The tyrant's rage decreased and he had to nod down meanwhile, the Syrian man repeated his request, but Yazid shouted at him, "May Allah inflict upon you a swift death!"
    Hence, Lady Zaynab could control her self-power and self-will that she inherited from her forefathers to face the tyrant and to triumph upon him.
    An author says:
    "Despite her weakness and submission, Lady Zaynab could achieve the first decisive victory over an authoritative and strong tyrant. More than once, she confuted Yazid and declared before everybody his ignorance and irreligiousness, since it is, according to Islamic laws, not acceptable to
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regard Muslim women as captives or to be treated as such in wars."1
    Anyhow, the Syrian man's request was seemly the opening of a long articles of criticism and reproach against Yazid and the beginning of the Syrian was not so dull, especially after he had heard the reply of Lady Zaynab that proved Yazid's having been excluded from Islam if he would respond to the Syrian man's request. This proveds that the man only intended to disgrace Yazid.


    Ladies of the Prpphet's family then asked the tyrant to give them a house in which they would consolation ceremonies for Imam al-Husayn since they were unable to show their grief before the policemen of Yazid, and if they did , they would be answered by whips and words of insult. In this regard, Imam 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin says, "The policemen's spears would fall down on the head of anyone of us who would shed even a single tear."
    Yazid however had to respond to the Ladies' request and, hence, all of them wore in black and moaned for their Imam and martyrs for seven days ceaselessly.


    Havind seen the influential results of the addresses of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin and Lady Zaynab, Yazid anticipated a rebel of at least a disorder in the capital of his state. He therefore decided to send the Prophet's family away from Damascus to their hometown, Medina. He gathered them in his palace and poured very much money on a silky carpet as blood money for the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn, his household, and his companions. This situation infuriated the Ladies so terribly that they all spoke. Lady Zaynab said,
1- See Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi's Hayat al-Imam al-Hasan; 3:390.
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"You are surely shameless and boastful! You kill my brother and family members, and then you want me to accept money as recompense!" Lady Sukaynah said, "I have never seen such hard-heartedness, and I have never seen an infidel and polytheist more vicious than you are ... etc."
    Hence, the tyrant, who thought that the Ahl al-Bayt can be submitted by money or any other transient material, failed to subjugate the Prophet's household since he did not believe that the almighty Allah "only desires to keep away the uncleanness from them and to purify them a (thorough) purifying."
    He then ordered al-Nu'man ibn Bashir to accompany the Prophet's family to Medina and to take care of them along this journey.1 He also decided to begin that journey at night so as to evade any expected disorder or revolt.
    Abd al-Malik al-Salami, carrying out the orders of 'Umar ibn Sa'd, conveyed the news of Imam al-Husayn's martyrdom to Medina before the captives' arrival in there.2 As much as this news delighted the ruler of Medina, it depressed the people who could not control themselves as their cries and weeping covered the whole city. The ruler however ascended the minbar of the Prophet's Masjid and declared his happiness and schadenfreude over the Imam and his party. 'Abdullah ibn al-Sa'ib criticized the ruler, sayin, "Had Fatimah been alive, she would weep for her son."3
1-See Ibn al-Athir, al-Tarikh, vol.3, p.300.

2- This report is qouted from Baqir Sharif al-Qarasahi's book entitled al-Sayyidah Zaynab. Nevertheless, this repot may contradict others.

3- Imam 'Ali (a) narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) once said, "On the Resurrection Day, my daughter Faimah shall come with dresses painted with her son's blood in her hand. She shall hang to one of the pillars of the (Divine) Throne and say "O the All-just! judge between my son's killer and me. The Lord then will judge for my daughter. I swear it by the Lord of the Paradise." See al-Sirat al-Sawi fi Manaqib(i) al-Nabi, 93.

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But the ruler shouted at him and said meaningless words.1
    For the martyrdom of their cheif, the Hashemites cried waile, and held ceremonies on that occasion. 'Abdullah ibn Ja'far, Lady Zaynab's husband, held obsequies attended by groups of people to console him for the misfortune.
    Yazid then sent the head ofImam al-Husayn to Medina so as to spread horror and fear among its people. The ruler of Medina denied this deed, while Marwan ibn al-Hakam welcomed and showed his malice against the Prophet and his religion. As he looked in the face of the Imam, he remembered his forefathers who were killed at the hands of the Imam's father and grandfather. He then turned his eyes towards the Holy Prophet's tomb and said, "Muhammad, this is for that day of [the battle of] Badr."2
    During their way to Medina, the captives of the Ahl al-Bayt asked the policemen who accompanied them to take a way leading to Karbala', and they did. Once they arrived in there, the ladies received the tomb of Imam al-Husayn with cries and wails. They spent three days there during which their tears did not stop shedding.
    As Imam Zayn al-Abidin feared for the death of his aunt and the other ladies out of their excessive grief, he ordered them to ready themselves for travel to Medina. They left with teary eyes and hoarse voices. Medina was dressed in black because of the death of Lady Ummu Salamah, the Prophet's widow, who died a month after Imam al-Husayn's martyrdom because of her grief for him.3 When the caravan was a few parasangs near Medina, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin resided there for a whole and asked Bishr ibn Hidhlim whether he could poetize something so that he would precede the others to Medina and declare, by some poetic verses, the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn. The man entered
1- See 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram, Maqatal al-Husayn, 417.

2- See Ibn Abi'l-Hadid's Sharh (u) Nahj al-Balaghah;4:72.

3- See Sayyid Ibn Tawus al-Hasani, al-Lahuf fi Qatla al-Tufuf, p.116.

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the city and stopped near the Prophet's Masjid to declare, in a sad tone, the martyrdom of the Imam.
    The publics hurried towards him for more information about the fate of the others. Bishr told them about the captivity of Imam Zayn al-'Abidin and the other ladies of the Prophet's household. They, crying and weeping, hurried to the suburbs to receive the caravan. As soon as the Prophet's household arrived, people surrounded them with teary eyes, and that day was similar to the day which the Holy Prophet died.
    In the midst of that horrible gathering, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin delivered a speech in which he touched on his father and the misfortunes they had suffered. He, accompanied by his aunt and sisters and surrounded by people, then directed towards the Prophet's Masjid. Lady Zaynab took the jambs of the Masjid's gate and shouted, "O grandfather! I am conveying to you the news of my brother al-Husayn's martyrdom."1
    From that day, Lady Zaynab's one and only deed was weeping for her martyred people and working to continue the endless message of Imam al-Husayn. She used to weep whenever her eyes fell on her nephew, Imam Zayn al-'Abidin, until she because as same as dead body.2
1- See 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, 472.

2- See Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari Tarikh al-Umam wa al-Muluk; 6:366, and Ibn al-Athir, al-Tarikh, vol. 3,p.428.

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    The horrible scenes that Lady Zaynab had to witness did not depart her for even a single moment; her eyes were always teary and her words were only wailing for her brother and the martyrs, She used to cry the names of her brothers, sons, and nephews, and then she would be unconscious. This state turned her into a soulless, feeble body waiting for death, which would be the only relief. She was waiting for death so as to complain to her grandfather and parents about what she had seen. Thus, diseases began to attack her and she had to stay in bed for long time suffering agonies of diseases. Even in her last sparks of life, the scenes of Karbala' and Damascus were present before her eyes. However, death attacked her while her tongue was glorifying the Almighty Lord Who will take revenge upon those who wronged her.
    She departed this life on Sunday, the fifteenth of Rajab, 62 AH at the age of fifty-seven.1


    Historians have had various opinions about the burial place of Lady Zaynab; some have defined al-Baqi in Medina. This opinion is not acceptable, because if she was buried there she would have a special tomb just like the others who were buried there. It is probable that she, like her mother, asked to be buried at night so that none would know about the place of her grave.
1- See al-'Ubaydali, al-Sayyidah Zaynab wa Akhbar al-Zaynabiyyat, 9.
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    A good group of historians have decided that she died in a small village in Damascus and was buried there. They recorded that she immigrated to Syria when Medina had been befallen by a disastrous famine due to which 'Abdullah ibn Ja'far left for Syria.
    It seems that the story of this famine is baseless since most of the historians and narrators have never referred to such an incident during that period. Besides, 'Abdullah ibn Ja'far was so rich that he would not be influenced by such a famine, and that he was too generous to leave his people in such a famine and immigrate to her center of his enemies. At any rate, it is widespread that Lady Zaynab was buried in Damascus and there is now a handsome shrine pilgrimaged by thousands of people every day, seeking the blessing and mercy of Almighty Allah, just like the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn.
    Another good number of historians have recorded that Lady Zaynab was buried in Egypt.1 For all Egyptians, this is an unquestionable fact,and her handsome shrine there is one of the most significant signs Egypt. About Lady Zaynab's immigration to Egypt, historians have recorded tha following :
    In Medina, Lady Zaynab began to rally the publics against the ruling authorities and the unjust Umayyad State. As a result, people of Medina rebelled and formed armed forces to face the ruling authorities. As a reply, Yazid sent a heavy army commanded by the criminal Muslim ibn Aqabah
1- This saying is agreed by the following scholars: Ibn 'Askir in al-Tarikhal-Kabir, Ibn Tawlawn in al-Risalah al-Zaynabiyyah, al-Sha'rani in Lawqih al-Anwar, Muhammad Sabban in Is'af al-Raghibin, al-Shabalnaji in Nur al-Absar, al-Shabrawi in al-Ithaf, Hasan al-Adwi in Mashariq al-Anwar, al-Mannawi in al-Tabaqat, Jalaluddin al-Sayuti in al-Risalah al-Zaynabiyyah, al-Ajhuri in Musalsal Ashura, and many others.
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to kill the rebels and civilians so harshly and mercilessly. He even turned them into slaves for Yazid.
    Fearing the activities of Lady Zaynab, the ruler of Medina wrote to Yazid about her danger. The tyrant wrote back that he should banish her to any country she would choose. First of all, Lady Zaynab refused, but Zaynab daughter of 'Aqil, her cousin, could convince her to leave for the good of religion. She hence opted for Egypt. In this (final) journey, she was accompanied by her nieces Fatimah and Sukaynah daughters of Imam al-Husayn. They arrived in Egypt on the last days of Dhu'l-Hijjah, and were received hospitably by the ruler of Egypt, Maslamah ibn Mukhallad al-Ansari who offered Lady Zaynab to reside in his own house in al-Hamra', and she lived there for eleven months and fifteen days. On Sundays, 15th of Rajab, 62 A.H., Lady Zaynab departed life and was buried in that house. There is now a handsome shrine carrying her name and teaching all generatons the meanings of real humanity and defense of freedom and belief.1
    In his book entitled al-Tarikh, Ibn Asakir records:
    "Lady Zaynab resided in Egypt where she died and was buried. The lady buried in Damascus is her sister, Zaynab al-Wusta."
    The Egyptians as well as the other Muslim throughout the globe pilgrimage to the holy shrine everyday especially on the occasion of her death. They, including scholars and religious people, crowd around the shrine seeking the Lord's blessings and mercy through the intercession of Lady Zaynab. Rulers of Egypt, such as Kafur al-Akhshidi, Ahmad ibn Tawlawn, and al-Dafir-bi-Nasrillah also had the honor to visit the holy shrine. with the beginning the month of Rajab, people from everywhere gather around the holy shrine reciting the Holy Book of Allah and other Du'as.
1- See Is'af al-Raghibin 196, al-Shamrani, Lawaqih al-Anwar 23, al-Ithaf bi Hubb al-Ashraf 93, and Masahriq al-Anwar,100.
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some of them, furthermore, reside there to the half of the month.
    A many reconstructions and reformations all over history have been made to the holy shrine at the hands of virtuous kings and leaders of Egypt, such as, Fakhruddin Tha'lb al-Ja'fari, 'Ali Pasha al-Wazir (in 956 AH), and Abdul-Rahman Katkhada (in 1174 AH). In 1212 AH, Uthman al-Muradi reconstructed the shrine, but he had to stop when the French occupied the country. In 1326 AH, Yusuf Pasha carried on the reconstructions and dated his words through some poetic verses written on a tablet of marble. Abyhow, the final touches were at the hands of Muhammad 'Ali Pasha reconstructed other faces. The operation was completed in 1304 AH.
    Every country or place in which Lady Zaynab resided has all right to take pride in this Lady who has been the honor of Islam and All Muslims.
    At any rate, Lady zaynab's place is the heart of each and every fact-finder. She has been too great to be contained by any tomb, and one's deed depends upon his/her intent.